POLYCHROME SHALLOW BOWL circa 1935
Everything about this large, magnificent bowl is clearly Hopi, but it leaves some unanswered questions. Its size and shape alone is a Hopi trademark, made over and over by many Hopi potters and few others from anywhere else. Its post-1930 date seems clear because of the strong reds, indicating it was made after Mary Russell Colton laid down the law: improve your reds, or the Museum of Northern Arizona won't sell your pots. It was obviously made by one of Hopi's finest potters and painters. After that, however it gets mysterious. The design elements are standard Hopi, but the heavy coverage and the way they're put together is uncommon, and the dark yellow of the interior is unusual. To my eye, the design seems foreign to the Nampeyo family and its followers. Who else was that skilled? Well, there was Grace Chapella and her family, there were those now mainly forgotten potters who knew and worked with Hattie Carl on the Second Mesa, and there were still others. Many fine Hopi pots of this period have a signature or a mark, but this one doesn't offer any help. The lack of a mark suggests it wasn't Paqua Naha, Sadie Adams, Hattie Carl or Lena Charlie. Unltil somebody our there can look at the design and relate it to a potter or a family, it'll remain a beautiful unsolved mystery.
10-1/4" diameter x 3-1/2" high
Condition excellent, remarkable for a piece this old. Two tiny areas of picked slip on underside, otherwise almost mint condition.